‘Tis the season … to start planning vacations for next year! If you’re a travel junkie, or know someone who loves to see new places, then this gift guide is for you. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite gadgets, practical items, and fun diversions for the travelers in your life. Read on to see the best of the bunch.
Versatile and durable, Joby’s Gorillamobile mount enables iPod and digital camera owners to set up their devices for hands-free use in virtually any type of location. Set your camera on a timer, keep a calendar or app running while you work, listen to music, watch programs, and more.
Price: $29.95 for most models, $39.95 for iPhone 4 version
Why We Like It: Easily adaptable to your environment and travel conditions, the Gorilla can be contorted for use on both flat and uneven surfaces.
Where to Buy: Joby
No yoga mat? No place to take classes? No problem! Turn virtually any hotel room into your own personal yoga studio with these individual grips for hands and feet. Shaped like gloves and socks, each “paw” prevents slipping, so you can take your yoga practice on the road with ease.
Why We Like It: They’re compact, easy to use, and effective in a variety of settings.
Where to Buy: Yoga-Paws
Moshi Travel Alarm Clock
Tell the voice-activated Moshi Travel Alarm Clock what time you want to get up, and the alarm is set—it’s as simple as that! The compact clock has a split screen so you can see the current time and your alarm time side by side, and also shows the temperature.
Why We Like It: With the Moshi clock in your suitcase, you won’t have to familiarize yourself with your hotel room alarm clock or request a wake-up call, nor worry about whether the wake-up call will actually come through.
Where to Buy: Moshi Lifestyle
XtremeMac 3-in-1 Microdock
It’s a speaker, a charger, and an alarm clock, all in one. For use with your iPhone or iPod, the XtremeMac plays your music clearly, with good range of volume. (Our testers loved the sound quality.) Download the device’s free app to use your iPhone as an alarm clock, complete with adjustable clock display lighting, nap timers/snooze features, and relaxing noises to help you fall asleep. And like any good travel gadget, the dock is lightweight and easy to toss in your suitcase or carry-on.
Why We Like It: The dual functionality of sleep sounds and alarm features helped our testers fall asleep soundly and wake up efficiently, both crucial for feeling well-rested on the road.
Anti-Theft Lunch Bags
Do you favor group-oriented accommodations, such as hostels, that offer communal food storage? Have you ever had your lunch stolen by an unidentified fellow traveler? Well, with Anti-Theft Lunch Bags you needn’t worry about your food mysteriously disappearing any more. These playful (OK, some might say gross) baggies feature mold-like splotches to make your otherwise-desirable sandwich appear rotten.
Price: $8 for a package of 25 bags
Why We Like It: More practical than practical joke, these bags enable budget travelers to have the last laugh—and not go hungry.
Where to Buy: the.
1510 Pelican Laptop Overnight Case
This super-durable Pelican suitcase is “watertight, crushproof, and dust proof”—and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If you often travel by sea or need maximum protection from the elements, this suitcase is for you.
Price: $227.95-$379.95, varying by retailer
Why We Like It: It’s lightweight, yet rugged. All travel suitcases should be this tough!
Where to Buy: Amazon, also available at Cabela’s, B&H Photo, Fry’s Electronics
Motz Acorn Speaker
The Acorn MP3 speaker offers big-sound volume in an unexpected package. Perfect for listening to your music while traveling (especially in the car), this little acorn features an audio jack to connect to your MP3 player, an FM radio option, and a USB cable for recharging its lithium battery. It’s super cute, too.
Price: $34.99-$45.95, varying by retailer
Why We Like It: This speaker is big enough to blast your favorite tunes, yet small enough to tuck away in your pocket. The price is right, especially for such a portable speaker system and radio. Finally, the element of disguise deters would-be thieves. (Who would steal a wooden acorn?)
This easy on-the-go wallet can be slipped over your travel mug or worn around your wrist, arm-cuff style. If you’re the type of traveler who’s always (literally) juggling several items, your wallet is now one less thing to carry. The compact design thwarts pickpockets, as well. Just remember—if you have a disposable coffee cup, don’t throw your wallet away with it!
Price: $9.95, comes in six zipper-color options
Why We Like It: Reusable, eco-friendly, and compact, the RuMe Cuff wallet also doubles as a coffee sleeve to protect your hands from hot drinks. And for no more than a $10 spot, it’s an affordable stocking stuffer.
Where to Buy: RuMe Bags
The Epiphanie Bag
Amateur (and professional) photographers, take note! The Epiphanie Bag (LOLA edition) looks like a roomy purse on the outside, but inside features adjustable Velcro panels and extra padding to protect your gear. It also has an adjustable strap, two exterior pockets, and water-resistant exterior materials for additional peace of mind.
Why We Like It: You no longer have to sacrifice style for functionality when carrying your camera and related equipment.
Where to Buy: Epiphanie Bags
Power up your electronics yourself with the nPower PEG, a charger that works off kinetic energy from walking, hiking, running, or biking. Once you’ve built up the battery, you can recharge your phone and other handheld electronic devices such as GPS systems, MP3 players, and more. For maximum versatility, the nPower PEG is compatible with more than 3,000 types of devices.
Why We Like It: There’s nothing more eco-friendly than kinetic energy, and the always-renewable power source provides extra peace of mind for those traveling to particularly remote locations.
Where to Buy: nPower/Tremont Electric
Pelican 1015 iPhone Case
It’s like a mini-version of the rock-solid Pelican suitcase, but this one is just for your iPhone or iPod Touch. If you’re a watersports enthusiast or frequent sailor and never want to miss a call (or be without your music), then this tough little guy is for you. The Pelican 1015 protects your iPhone with a water-resistant and crushproof outer case that still manages to be lightweight. The exterior headphone jack gives you access to your device without subjecting it to the elements. Once you’ve purchased one, it’s guaranteed for life.
Price: $11-$19.95, varies by retailer
Why We Like It: While technically it’s for the iPhone/iPod Touch, the 1015 can hold other smaller electronics and smartphones, too.
PowerLine PowerCup Inverter
No more arguments over who gets to monopolize the car charger. The Powerline PowerCup Inverter, cleverly shaped like a travel mug to easily fit in your car’s cup holder, features two AC plugs and a USB power port, so you can run multiple devices on it simultaneously. Get the DVD player going for the kids, charge up your laptop, or juice up your MP3 player while on the road, and all at the same time.
Price: $30, varying by retailer
Why We Like It: The fun format and versatility of both AC and USB power ports makes this gift a boon for family road trips. (Just make sure you don’t try to sip from it!)
ila Wedge Door Alarm
No regular door stopper, the ila Wedge gives solo travelers a little extra peace of mind. Place it under your hotel room door and it’ll work on two levels: One, it’ll make the door harder to open; and two, should the door be forced open, it’ll sound a 130-decibel alarm to frighten off any intruders. Is anyone going to stick around with such an assault on the ears? We think not.
Price: $19.95, varies by retailer
Why We Like It: It’s a small thing to pack, but it packs a (loud) punch.
Where to Buy: Handpicked Gift Store
Briggs & Riley Explore 22 Upright
Portability goes far with Briggs & Riley luggage: The Explore 22 model features stable wheels and a low center of gravity for easy maneuvering in crowds and down ramps. The main storage area features a roomy interior, with clips and several compartments to keep clothes organized. Pockets are plentiful, both inside and out
Price: $ 290
Why We Like It: It’s strong yet lightweight, handsome, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Where to Buy: Briggs & Riley Travelware
Rowallan Travel Jewelry Keep
While it’s usually a safer bet to leave your jewelry at home, if you are taking your baubles on the road, the Rowallan Rowan jewelry case makes it easy to store and carry your gems. No larger than a standard pencil case, the zip-around box features a suede interior, chain hooks, ring holders, and a pocket for extra safekeeping.
Price: $34.99-$37, varies by retailer
Why We Like It: It’s ideal for travel, but the Rowan’s sleek design and easy organization also make it useful for holding jewelry even if you’re not on the road.
Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Trunk Organizer and Cooler
When collapsed, this trunk organizer and cooler is no larger than a standard accordion file folder, but expand it and you’ve got three roomy sections perfect for picnics, tailgating, kids’ toys, and more. The removable cooler is insulated to maintain both hot and cold temperatures, and is easy to fold when not in use. All pieces come with a lifetime guarantee.
Price: $41-$52, varying by retailer
Why We Like It: The space-efficient design and rugged durability make this an ideal companion for all types of road trips.